It’s the 15th December and I’m sure that you will be shocked to hear that I don’t have ANY Christmas decorations up in my house!
Life just got rather overwhelming; working away at the beginning of December, coming back to a full week of work and catching up on top. Not to mention the house, dog, chickens and a teenager all needing attention in their own way.
The icing on the cake was the school closures because of ice and snow. Out comes my second hat, I am now SLT and High School teacher…. Teenagers need almost as much attention as toddlers, especially at revision time!
So, I’ve been mulling over what to write all week. Then I realised it has been staring me in the face for a fortnight, those two boxes of Christmas stuff! I don’t know about you, but we have a mishmash of ‘special things’ the kids made as toddlers and a few nice things bought more recently. Our tree isn’t a colour co-ordinated one, it’s rather nostalgic!
In the midst of my sorting, I found lots of lovely things that sparked a few memories; homemade decorations from pre-school days, racing Santa, magic reindeer food and of course the magic ‘Tom Tee’ who eat cold porridge with salt, Ugghhh!
So how can we use Christmas to help our children to develop communication, attention and language?
- Firstly, notice what sparks your child’s interest, perhaps it’s the tinsel.
- Use words to describe what they are doing, or what they can see.
- Keep it short and simple. Use one or two words to begin with “tinsel” “Sparkly tinsel”.
- If your child is saying a few words, repeat them back and add an extra word “long, sparkly tinsel”.
- Remember, never ask your child to repeat words, just let the words soak in.
- Use the same words again and again so that your child learns what they mean and how we use them.
In my box, I found lots of ‘big’ and ‘little’ objects: Santa hats, stockings, penguins and angels.
Santa hats – great for peek-a-boo with little ones or taking turns to wear the big hat, or the little hat.
You could put big objects in the big stocking and little objects into the little stocking. Don’t forget to use words that are fun for your child. “Bye bye penguin, go in the big stocking.” OR “Penguin is in the BIG stocking!”
My kids favourite after-dinner game; racing Santa (and a snowman). We wind them up and race across a little table, the winner falls over the edge first!
Build up anticipation, excitement and develop your child’s attention skills with “ready… steady… go!”
More ideas for “ready, steady, go!”
Magic reindeer dust: “Ready, steady sprinkle!”
Making the Tom Tee’s porridge: “ready, steady, mix”.
‘Granny’s singing turkey’: You could do ‘ready, steady go‘ before pressing the button for him to ‘sing’!
Making the Tom Tee their salty porridge gives lovely opportunities to use action words like ‘mixing, stirring, sprinkling, cooking, eating’. Just don’t taste it at the end!
Lastly, before I head off to do my tree, a ‘feely bag’ to play ‘What’s in the bag?’
In my box of Christmas tree decorations, I found a variety of animals, baubles, stars and Christmas characters.
- Hide the objects in a bag or a cardboard box.
- Take turns to put your hand in and find an object.
- Little ones can take the object out and you can name it for them; “it’s rabbit!”
- Older children can guess what they have found; “a rabbit?”
- Then you can add an extra word; “A spikey rabbit” “He’s got ears, eyes and feet”.
So, now my teenager is hovering over the mince pies and giving me ‘the look’. I think it’s time to hang up the tinsel on our tree!
Talking about hanging up, why not hang up your phone for five minutes every day, use this time to play with your child and help them to learn language. Maybe one of these ideas will spark their interest.